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Editorial: Keep Fighting The iTunes Fight, Palm

BANG!Back in July, when Palm defiantly re-hacked their webOS Media Sync feature to circumvent Apple's blatantly anti-consumer iTunes hardware lockout, the plucky underdogs didn't just settle for blowing an insolent raspberry at Apple via their official company blog: they also audaciously took the risky strategy of publically dragging a third party into the dispute, by officially complaining to the USB Implementers Forum about what they called Apple's "improper use of the Vendor ID". Unfortunately for Palm, the gamble has not paid off and has in fact completely backfired.

The USB-IF finally responded to the complaint yesterday, and not only have they dismissed Palm's allegations of improper use by Apple but have also informed the company that their own method of accessing iTunes - which alters the Palm Pre's Vendor ID to make it appear as an Apple device - is a "potential violation" of the official Vendor Identification Number policy. The USB-IF has requested that Palm clarify their intent and "respond to this potential violation within seven days".

Should Palm continue with this course of action? Is the USB-IF lily-livered, fraidy-cat, a wimp or just plain chicken? Read on...

The quotes (via the AllThingsD Digital Daily blog) from the USB-IF's letter:

"In the view of the USB-IF, Palm's allegation (if true) does not establish that Apple is using its Vendor ID (VID) contrary to the USB-IF's policies. Therefore, under present USB-IF policies, the USB-IF does not consider the alleged use, without more, to be ‘improper.'"

...

Your letter also states that:

"Palm will shortly issue an update of its WebOS operating system that uses Apple's Vendor ID number for the sole purpose of restoring the Palm media sync functionality."

I attach for your information the USB-IF's adopted and published policy regarding Vendor Identification Numbers (VIDs). Under the Policy, Palm may only use the single Vendor ID issued to Palm for Palm's usage. Usage of any other company's Vendor ID is specifically precluded. Palm's expressed intent to use Apple's VID appears to violate the attached policy.

Please clarify Palm's intent and respond to this potential violation within seven days.

Pre with iTunesIn other words: naughty naughty, Palm. The company's response to Digital Daily was brief, and worryingly weak:

"We engaged with the USB-IF because we believe consumers should have freedom and choice in how and where they use the non-rights managed media they already own. We are reviewing the letter from the USB-IF and will respond as appropriate."

What are Palm to do now? The consequences that would result from them continuing to violate the rules are hardly dire (so far as Yours Truly can tell). The benefits of being a member of the forum are listed on the USB-IF website:

  • Eligibility to participate in free USB-IF sponsored quarterly Compliance Workshops
  • Free Vendor ID (if one has not been previously assigned)
  • Opportunities to participate in USB-IF marketing programs and events, such as retail newsletters, store endcaps, featured products, etc
  • A company listing in the USB key contacts list
  • Eligibility for inclusion in the USB current products list on the usb.org web site and in periodic USB-IF retail newsletters
  • A waived logo administration fee when joining the USB-IF logo program
  • Discounts on Developer Conferences, products in the e-store, etc
  • Eligibility to participate in Device Working Groups
  • 3 free CDs of the specifications and the ability to request 2 hardcopy spec books to new members of the USB-IF
  • And many others...

So the price Palm would have pay in order to continue being able to directly sync with one of the world's most popular packages of desktop media software - not to mention America's biggest music retailer - is pretty much... nothing. It's been suggested elsewhere that Palm should give up the fight and bow to Apple's bullying, and if we're to be totally honest it can't be denied there is a small amount of merit to that argument: namely, providing certainty to Palm's own customers, who currently face short delays of a few weeks every time Apple breaks Media Sync.

But that attitude doesn't sit well with me. In fact it sits very poorly: Apple's behaviour in deliberately locking out the Pre reeks of arrogance, and implies that they either (a) honestly think they're in the right when they turn all other competing hardware manufacturers into second-class citizens of the iTunes media ecosystem - in which case they need a bloody good slap - or (b) simply don't care if they look like jerks. In which case an even bigger slap is called for.

When a company grows to such a massive size as Apple has in the media market it must shoulder certain responsibilities to consumers, in not using their immense muscle to force people into buying one product so as to enjoy the full, unimpeded usage of another. In this case, iTunes and its accompanying Store has clearly become so popular that its customers can no longer be credibly expected to all desire to be iPod/iPhone owners.

They'll never take OUR FREEDOM!The fact of the matter is that there is nothing special software-wise about the way an iPod or iPhone syncs with iTunes: as Palm has demonstrated, it's a very simple matter to implement direct iTunes sync without any help from Apple. Apple are blocking Palm simply because they can, not for any technical reason.

The assertion has been made that Palm are being "lazy" by not building their own separate iTunes sync client. That's a load of crap: they're doing both their own and iTunes Store customers a favour, by offering a real hardware alternative to the iPod and iPhone and not forcing users to install yet another piece of third-party software on PC's that already carry far too much bloat.

Despite their near-monopoly on the digital audio player market and incredibly strong financial and mindshare positions, Apple still seem to want to play the underdog. It is simply no longer true, and it's time they started behaving like the leaders they've become. Apple used to be the anti-Microsoft. Nowadays? Cupertino looks a lot like Redmond, circa 1998, tying their various products together into an unholy anti-competitive bundle.

It's obvious that a big part of Palm's continued defiance is the valuable press coverage that it continues to generate for the company. But even if all this was just a cynical media strategy on Palm's part, who cares? The end result for consumers is the same: a more open ecosystem. iTunes Media Sync dovetails perfectly with Palm's strategy with their Synergy aggregation software, which allows users to decide which software services they would like to use, rather than being confined to a single first-party solution.

So this blogger urges you, Palm: keep fighting! A USB logo on your box is practically worthless.

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Respectfully disagree...

question fear @ 9/23/2009 10:48:40 AM # Q
I actually like your comments most of the time, Tim, and still read PIC because you, HKK and Ryan do a great job. However...

The thing is, Apple isn't treating Palm differently than anyone else. It's not like a Toshiba mp3 player can waltz in and sit down in iTunes either...but they can go through the protocol that Apple has set up, which from what I have read works fine...Blackberries use it with no problem, for example.

To me, this whole thing kind of lays out like this:

I own a beach house. I tell all my friends (incl you) that you are more than welcome to crash in my beach house anytime you want. The only rule I have is that you make your own copy of the back door key and use that, rather than the front door.

You decide that since I invited you in the house at all, you should have the right to break into the front door. I didn't ban you from the house or prevent your use of it all, but you're stuck on that front door thing and keep breaking my front doors rather than using the entrance to which you have unlimited access.

Of course, in the end, we could all debate this until we turn purple and it won't matter...since I'm 99.999999% sure that Palm and Apple are slowly moving into a Yankees/Red Sox style rivalry, at which point bloggers and commenters on the interwebs will have as much influence as the people who chant Yankees Suck at BoSox games (even the ones where they aren't playing the Yankees!)

RE: Respectfully disagree...
Tim Carroll @ 9/23/2009 2:50:58 PM # Q
^^ First, thanks!

Second, I must respectfully disagree with your respectful disagreement. ;) Your analogy, beautifully elucidated as it is, doesn't quite work for me. Some alternates:

*It's not a back door key, but a doggie-door key. (Remember that episode of the Simpsons where Homer re-applies for his job at the nuclear plant? In order to get into Burns' office, he has to crawl through the "Supplicants" doggie-door, which dumps a pile of ash on his head as he exits. He's then greeted with: "So, come crawling back, eh?" As Homer responds: "Seems like the classy thing to do would be to not call attention to it.")

*Apple aren't actually giving anyone a key at all. Rather, other manufacturers are invited to pitch a ramshackle tent in the yard and look through the window. They're free to take photos and notes. But they're not welcome inside.

*

BENTONVILLE, Arkansas, September 24 2009: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. today announced an exciting new in-store policy. If consumers wish to bring a shopping cart into the store, they are now able to purchase our proprietary Wal-Mart SupaCart™! Functions exactly the same as other carts but carries the Wal-Mart Seal of Approval™.

As a consequence of this policy, all alternate carrying devices are now forbidden in-store, in order to ensure everybody's safety. Consumers who wish to use a generic cart may bring it around to the rear loading dock, where they will be provided a catalog which they can use to tick off which items they've already purchased while cartless in-store. They may then designate a third-party to enter the store and collect their purchases.

To enfore the policy, all doors and entries to Wal-Mart Stores have now been re-engineered so as to only fit the Wal-Mart SupaCart™. Should competitors re-design their own carts to fit, we will of course continue to alter the dimensions.

This occasion also marks the debut of our new slogan: "Convenient Inconvenience."

But as you said, this is all just Internet hot air. It's not like any of our opinions are really going to influence the outcome. It's a low-stakes as you can get. Which is actually how I like it. ;)
Sometime PIC blogger
Treo 270 --> Treo 650 --> Treo 680 --> Centro
I apologise for any and all emoticons in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.

Reply to this comment

Ruh, Roh!

jca666us @ 9/23/2009 10:59:02 AM # Q
>Unfortunately for Palm, the gamble has not paid off and has in fact completely backfired.
It backfired because - as I had stated several times - Palm's misuse of the vendor ID (by spoofing Apple's) violated USB-IF's rules.

If Palm actually believes they are championing "consumer freedom of choice" (rather than trying to kill Apple's competitive advantage) then they need to take this to a court of law because Apple didn't violate the USB-IF's rules.


>The consequences that would result from them continuing to violate the rules are hardly dire (so far as Yours Truly can tell).
Except that this gives Apple leverage to pursue legal action against Palm.

>It's been suggested elsewhere that Palm should give up the fight and bow to Apple's bullying...
How is it bullying? Palm attempted to bully Apple in the press and by crying to the USB-IF - and that went nowhere.

>The fact of the matter is that there is nothing special software-wise about the way an iPod or iPhone syncs with iTunes.
iTunes continues to remain Apple's property - they - and not Palm - are free to do with it as they wish.

>The assertion has been made that Palm are being "lazy" by not building their own separate iTunes sync client.
It's also a bit of arrogance on Palm's part - if Palm pays me, I could whip up an itunes sync client for Palm over the weekend.

>Apple used to be the anti-Microsoft. Nowadays? Cupertino looks a lot like Redmond, circa 1998, tying their various products together into an
>unholy anti-competitive bundle.

Except it's not a monopoly. Read up on it sometime!

>It's obvious that a big part of Palm's continued defiance is the valuable press coverage that it continues to generate for the company.
No kidding!!! Palm would generate more positive press for themselves if they wrote their own sync software.

Their continued attempts at pressing this issue only make them look like ex-Apple employees upset with their former employer.

>So this blogger urges you, Palm: keep fighting!
Please, keep fighting Palm - while the rest of the world moves past you!

Reply to this comment

Hyperbolic nonsense

diamondsw @ 9/23/2009 11:37:50 AM # Q
It's a poor state of affairs when the comments are far more reasoned and intelligent than the article.

In a nutshell:
- Apple has done nothing wrong by limiting iTunes to working with Apple devices. That is their choice, and what they want to support. Don't like it, then don't use iTunes.
- Palm was wrong to usurp Apple's vendor ID, and the USB forum agreed. Those are there for a reason, and are not to be used by any company except who it is assigned to. End of story.
- Palm has numerous legitimate ways to achieve its end goal. They could write their own client from scratch, they could read the iTunes XML library as so many others do, or they could create a device plugin. They've done none of these. Note that Missing Sync, Blackberry, and others sync just fine because they use legitimate means of doing so.

There is no fight here. Apple is not the bad guy. Palm tried to take a clever/lazy shortcut, likely also utilizing what their ex-Apple employees knew about iTunes and iPod internals. Apple put the kibosh on that, as they don't want to be stuck trying to keep the iTunes syncing interoperable with a third party - it's there to be used with their hardware, and that's how they want to keep it.

If they don't block it now and some update breaks it completely accidentally ("We changed field 'x' in the protocol to handle a larger value, and it broke the Pre"), then they'd be in hot water because they're "anti-competitive". They're heading off all of that mess by clearly saying this is not supported or allowed, and they've pointed out several legitimate ways to do the same thing, that don't involve breaking the USB standards or their iPod syncing protocol.

Palm is wrong, and it's about as clear cut as it gets. Now extract your head and move on.

RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
Caspian @ 9/23/2009 1:21:31 PM # Q
Well said. If we are to be angry with anyone, it is with Palm for taking shortcuts and then trying to blame Apple when they don't work. Like Apple or not, they have created a well-integrated software and hardware system and they should not be forced to "share the wealth" with another developer who is not willing to put in the time to do it themselves.
David
Palm III> Palm IIIx> Palm IIIc> Sony T615> Sony T665> Sony TH55> Palm T|E> Palm T|E2> Palm T|X>Treo 700p
RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
Tim Carroll @ 9/23/2009 2:55:11 PM # Q
IMO, it's not about "sharing the wealth". It's about recognizing that with the iTunes Store, Apple have become a retail giant. As such, their attitudes towards hardware and software bundling must be recalibrated to recognize the fact that consumers should not be forced into purchasing Apple hardware if they wish to sync their legitimate purchases in the most convenient manner - i.e. by directly interfacing with the software they used to make the purchase in the first place.
RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
abosco @ 9/23/2009 5:01:22 PM # M Q
Except they're NOT forced into buying Apple hardware to make it work. The music has no DRM and can be put onto a Pre just as easily as a Blackberry or anywhere else. That's why this argument has no merit. Apple spent the man-hours creating the ecosystem, and other companies have access to it. However, Apple hardware has the tightest integration. This is not illegal, nor is it anticompetitive.

Blame Palm for not just creating their own software that integrates with the iTunes XML files. Instead, Pre users are left in limbo as to whether or not iTunes recognizes it this week. Palm can end this nonsense right now.

RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
Tim Carroll @ 9/24/2009 12:45:02 AM # Q
^^ My issue is not that "other companies" are blocked for no good reason from direct iTunes syncing (although I think it's a dick move nonetheless). The issue is that iTunes Store customers are blocked from doing so with anything other than Apple hardware.

When you install iTunes on Windows, you also have to install Quicktime and that Bonjour rubbish as well. It then leaves a bunch of unnecessary background services running forever. If you could access the iTunes store without all the accompanying bloat, I'd be less vocal in my complaints. But you have to install a metric ****ton of crap just to access a store that frequently gets exclusive deals, bonus tracks etc. For Apple to then turn around and tell people that they must then use another piece of software to sync their purchases is just rubbish.

Divorce iTunes the media manager from the iTunes Store, or at least provide a Store-only download with no strings attached, and I'll quit my bitching. Until then? Apple's actions are (in my view) anti-consumer and anti-competitive. Not illegal. But certainly immoral.

RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
jca666us @ 9/24/2009 4:57:52 AM # M Q
Until such a time when people stop buying songs from iTunes - apple will do what they have to in order to remain competitive.

>at least provide a Store-only download with no
>strings attached, and I'll quit my bitching.

Somehow I doubt that :)

>Apple's actions are (in my view) anti-consumer
>and anti-competitive. Not illegal. But certainly
>immoral.

And Palm's actions in this matter are several orders of magnitude worse.

It's a good thing the USB-IF bitch-slapped Palm for their brazen and arrogant behavior.

RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
abosco @ 9/24/2009 6:31:19 AM # M Q
Tim, I think your requests are pretty outlandish. No company would split up a product that has proven to be so successful. It just isn't reasonable to even suggest. Sure, in the fairytale land of Google and opensource where everyone is a winner, that sounds great. But Apple has shareholders and investors to which they answer.

So long as the music is DRM-free and the music is able to be taken from iTunes to other platforms, Apple is doing nothing illegal. If it were locked into Apple's ecosystem, yes, you would have a point. But it's not, and you don't.

RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
CFreymarc @ 9/24/2009 9:15:15 AM # Q
You hit the nail on the head, management saw a quick and easy way to get music sync'ing to the Pre and decided to take advantage of grey zone confidential knowledge from ex-Apple engineers working over at Palm now. The fact that Palm management condoned this shows their scruples and who knows what other questionable decisions have been made moving into grey zone IP issues.

From what I have been told, talking shop at the brew pub in front of Infinity Loop is a no-no. Other nearby restaurants are the place to talk shop such as Mayake and The Duke. Then there is that 24-7 donut shop down the street of Infinity Loop that is infamous for graveyard shift design talk going back to the Apple ][ days.

RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
Tim Carroll @ 9/25/2009 4:18:09 PM # Q
Let's got over this "if it's not illegal, it's all A-OK" crap. Apple have married a DRM-free retail music store (one of the world's biggest) with a proprietary hardware/software solution. The two are oil and water. Not everyone who wants to shop at the store wants to use Apple's other products.

If iTunes is fully capable of directly syncing with other devices (as Palm has proved) and another company is the one that does the legwork to enable that syncing (as Palm has done), then Apple have no good* reason to block their paying customers from doing so.

*Good reasons are defined as "ones that are to consumers' benefit" rather than "ones that are to Apple shareholders' benefit".

RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
jca666us @ 9/25/2009 8:33:39 PM # Q
>Apple have married a DRM-free retail music store
>(one of the world's biggest) with a proprietary
>hardware/software solution.

So has microsoft - yet I don't see you calling them out.

>Not everyone who wants to shop at the store wants
>to use Apple's other products.

Obviously Apple doesn't care to market to that crowd.

>If iTunes is fully capable of directly syncing with other devices
>(as Palm has proved)

Palm hasn't proven that - as their entry into itunes syncing was a hack.
Apple is the only one who can approve such a thing.

>and another company is the one that does the
>legwork to enable that syncing (as Palm has done)

If legwork = encroaching upon another company's IP then I agree.

>Apple have no good* reason to block their paying
>customers from doing so.

However, that's not for you or Palm to say - Apple owns itunes and are free
to develop it as they see fit. They are not going to suddenly eliminate their competitive advantage and give into Palm's bullying tactics because you cry about it incessantly in a blog post.

How about a blog post where you take Palm to task for not developing their own syncing solution?

RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
Tim Carroll @ 9/25/2009 9:53:56 PM # Q
So has microsoft - yet I don't see you calling them out.

Exsqueeze me? Microsoft's store is not DRM-free so far as I know. But even if it is, MS have not gone to the lengths of deliberately locking competitors out. If someone were to implement a direct Zune store sync and MS blocked it after someone else had done the work, then yes, I would call that out.

Apple is the only one who can approve such a thing.

"Approve of" and "capable of" are two different things, troll-bot. iTunes can do it just fine. Apple are just jealous control freaks.

If legwork = encroaching upon another company's IP then I agree.

You continue to misunderstand what IP violation actually means. Palm is not violating Apple's IP.

However, that's not for you or Palm to say - Apple owns itunes and are free to develop it as they see fit. They are not going to suddenly eliminate their competitive advantage and give into Palm's bullying tactics because you cry about it incessantly in a blog post.

Of course it's for me to say. I'm a consumer. Apple's tactics are entirely for their own benefit, not mine or yours. And how the hell can Apple, a GIANT with a near-monopoly on the audio player market and one of the world's largest retail music stores (and America's biggest) be considered to be being "bullied" by Palm, a TINY company that is simply giving consumers another option?

FAIL, troll-bot. As Mike Cane would say... NEXT!

RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
jca666us @ 9/25/2009 11:13:28 PM # Q
> Microsoft's store is not DRM-free so far as I know.

You're right - you don't know! :)

>But even if it is, MS have not gone to the lengths of
>deliberately locking competitors out. If someone
>were to implement a direct Zune store sync
>and MS blocked it after someone else had done the
>work, then yes, I would call that out.

Let's see - why hasn't Palm elected to hack into the Zune Marketplace?

As for calling anyone out - I'll believe it when I see it.

>"Approve of" and "capable of" are two different things.

When the company who owns the software is in charge of
approving things - and can also disable unauthorized hacks
- then "Approve of" and "capable of" are not two different things.

Palm doesn't own itunes and has no say what can and cannot be done with that software.

>iTunes can do it just fine. Apple are just jealous control freaks.

Jealous of what??? itunes can't do it if Apple disallows it. Palm are just being crybabies...they need to develop their own software instead of riding their ex-employer's coattails.

>You continue to misunderstand what IP violation actually means. Palm is
>not violating Apple's IP.

I can see where you're coming from, since you don't understand what intellectual property is.

>Of course it's for me to say. I'm a consumer.

I'm sure Apple will be listening very intently to what you say - hah!

>Apple's tactics are entirely for their own benefit, not mine or yours.

And Palm is pulling their stunts with itunes syncing for the consumer's benefit - hardly! Palm's bullying is for their own benefit - free press and diminishing Apple's competitive advantage wrt itunes.

>And how the hell can Apple, a GIANT with a near-monopoly on the audio
>player market and one of the world's largest retail music stores (and
>America's biggest) be considered to be being "bullied" by Palm, a TINY
>company that is simply giving consumers another option?

Palm can give consumers a choice by not being lazy and developing their own music store - or going with a competing music store.

Why is that so hard for them? BTW, the USB-IF must be laughing their collective asses off at Palm's bone-headed move.

FYI, Apple does not have a monopoly or near-monopoly on the audio player market - read up on what a monopoly actually is.

The ex-apple guys at Palm figure "Hell, I know how the Pre can hack into itunes - free syncing with no effort!"

Considering your single-mindedness on the wrong side of this issue (and being in the mnority), you and Palm should both learn when to give up.

RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
Tim Carroll @ 9/26/2009 12:06:46 AM # Q
Sigh. I should have just kept ignoring you. What a waste of freaking time. You cannot stick to one argument and are relentlessly focused on the least interesting part of the issue, which is the battle between Apple and Palm.

If you'd been listening, the real fight that interests me is between Apple and their own iTunes Store customers, who are denied the most convenient method of syncing their legitimate purchases for no reason other than Apple's insane fear that letting a small player like Palm directly sync will... actually, I have no idea what they're afraid of.

RE: Hyperbolic nonsense
jca666us @ 9/26/2009 6:09:27 AM # Q
If you'd been listening, the real fight that interests me is between Apple and their own iTunes Store customers, who are denied the most convenient method of syncing their legitimate purchases for no reason other than Apple's insane fear that letting a small player like Palm directly sync will... actually, I have no idea what they're afraid of.

There's no fight to be found there. It's a nonissue that you keep propping up as a means to justify Palm's stupidity in this issue.

Palm should work on their own sync solutions without relying on itunes.

Tim, if you're lucky, you might find 5 itunes users that feel the way you do. The fact that all itunes music is drm-free and can be moved over to any device that supports aac puts a rather large pin hole in your argument.

Apple already has a method for 3rd party devices to sync with itunes (via xml)...let's turn your argument around:

"Why can't Palm think of the consumer - rather than the ex-Apple employees there trying to stick it to their old employer. Palm should use itunes approved method of syncing."

The only reasons Apple would not want to allow 3rd party devices into itunes syncing:

- Apple's business model has them making the majority of cash on their devices - NOT under itunes. Letting in 3rd party devices diminishes their competitive advantage.

- Apple is all about user experience. They shouldn't be tied to the Pre and have that as another device they need to include in their testbed when developing new versions of itunes.

Regardless of the reasoning, itunes belongs to Apple and it's entirely their decision as to how it is developed.

Give it up already.

Reply to this comment

Palm - Don't even portray yourself as righteous...

Gmon750 @ 9/23/2009 11:51:51 AM # Q
Being a former (and burned) Palm developer and user for many years, I can frankly say that Palm got exactly what it deserved.

Apple did nothing wrong. Palm portrays itself publicly to be on the side of the consumer but in reality (and in the back-room) they merely wanted to ride on the coat-tails of another company work. Even going so far as to (illegally) masquerade as that company's device in order to do it.

Shame on you Palm. May you R.I.P.

RE: Palm - Don't even portray yourself as righteous...
rmhurdman @ 9/23/2009 12:00:26 PM # Q
The above comment is, word for word, what I was going to write. Thanks for saving me the trouble.

I believe the correct interwebs meme is: +1

Reply to this comment

Not Sure I Care Anymore

DarthRepublican @ 9/23/2009 3:59:58 PM # Q
I guess it's a shame that Palm didn't get support from USB-IF but I'm not sure that there is much of a loss one way or another. And more to the point I'm tired of caring about this little food fight. The bottom line is that the Pre only has 8GB to begin with -- only enough to hold a fraction of my music, video, and podcast collection. So it wasn't my primary media device anyway.

More to the point, I have non-DRM MP3s for all of my music and can copy them to any device I feel like it. iTunes just happened to be a convenient choice since my iPod and Mac Mini come with it. So I really don't need to use iTunes any more than I need to use my Pre for music. So as iTunes becomes less convenient to use thanks to Apple's lock-in strategy, I become more likely to abandon it in the future. My Pre meanwhile still works for everything else that I normally use it for, so there is little if any net loss or gain for me one way or another.

I don't really see what Palm gains by continuing to fight with Apple or for that matter I don't really see where they gain much by spending a lot of money to develop "their own" solution. They already have multiple methods of getting music on to the Pre: Amazon MP3 Store, drag and drop, a third party media manager like Songbird or Winamp. And as I pointed out before, the Pre's storage capacity is low enough that it's just an entry level music/video player anyway.

I suppose in the larger sense, Palm has as much right to make its phones compatible with iTunes as OpenOffice.org has to make software that can open Word .doc files and as much right as Opera has to alter its User Agent string to spoof Internet Explorer. But practical terms Palm has made its point, there is nothing special about the iPod or iTunes, it's just another MP3 player and media software. They've had their fun, it's time to start working on more important things like beefing up the PIM apps and getting Documents to Go into the App Catalog.
Palm Apologist
Shouting down the PIC Faithful Since 2009
Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX->Palm Pre
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680->T-Mobile G1->Palm Pre
http://mind-grapes.blogspot.com/

RE: Not Sure I Care Anymore
freakout @ 9/23/2009 5:28:14 PM # M Q
Darth, I love your new sig.
RE: Not Sure I Care Anymore
DarthRepublican @ 9/23/2009 6:48:11 PM # Q
Thanks. Sometimes you've got to unstick your craw say what you think.
Palm Apologist
Shouting down the PIC Faithful Since 2009
Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX->Palm Pre
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680->T-Mobile G1->Palm Pre
http://mind-grapes.blogspot.com/
Reply to this comment

What a bunch of hypocrites

LarryGarfield @ 9/23/2009 6:30:14 PM # Q
We engaged with the USB-IF because we believe consumers should have freedom and choice in how and where they use the non-rights managed media they already own.

But apparently not freedom of choice in their carrier, the software they install, freedom from being spied on, or any other freedom. Users should only have the freedom to let Palm dictate how they use their devices rather than Apple dictate how they use their devices.

Sorry, Palm. I've been a supporter of yours since 1998, and my Treo 680 is my 7th Palm OS device (5th Palm-branded). But now you're just another "lock the customer in and treat them like a slave" company. We already have two of them in the market (Apple and Microsoft), and we don't need a third. As a long-time Palm OS user heavily impressed by the technical feats of the webOS and Pre, I hope you're bankrupt by the end of the year. That's what hypocrites like you deserve.

I hope Android gets some better hardware soon, because I'm done with Palm, Inc.
--
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RE: What a bunch of hypocrites
twrock @ 9/23/2009 11:53:20 PM # Q
LarryGarfield wrote:
I hope Android gets some better hardware soon, because I'm done with Palm, Inc.

(OT: Hey Larry, how's your Handera holding up? I keep my 330c charged up just in case. I noticed Ryan dropped the "TRG/Handera" category in the discussion forums update. Ah, those were the days.)

Just got home from my local phone company where I put an HTC Hero through the paces. It's a done deal. I am 99.5% sure I'm going to get an Android device, and it might just be that Hero if I can't hold out for a >3.5" screen, more memory, and a bit better battery life.

The onscreen Chinese character recognition was really good, even for my limited abilities. Onscreen keyboard is workable in landscape mode with auto-correction, and I might get good enough on it after a while to work it in portrait, but I fear the problem of big thumbs is always going to be there. I don't know if the one they had already had the OS upgrade, but there was no noticeable lag. And it felt really good in my hand (which might be a nod to a smaller screen). And the "Jay Leno chin" has grown on me. I hated the look of it in pictures, but it worked well in real life. I could go on and on about what I liked about this phone.

The only bad thing about the whole experience was having to wait on the couple in front of me to purchase their iPhone. ;-) But if someone had that beautiful iPhone screen on an otherwise Android device (OS, buttons, trackball, removable battery, etc.), I think I would have dropped the money right there and then.

Of course YMMV, but there is no way I'm going to get locked into anybody's "walled garden".

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?

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We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us

2klbs @ 9/23/2009 10:30:46 PM # Q
Almost a Parallell?

Taking my data and storing in the cloud on a dedicated server, then not allowing me to (easily and conveniently) transport it when I cancel my contract or return my device?

Wow, that IS unfair...
Not "Pre-verted"- Android Assimilation?

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Palm - use an alternative Path

icarus @ 9/24/2009 4:37:45 AM # Q
While I feel pretty much like you Tim.
On the other hand, I wished, Palm would take another path than faking the USB-ID or something that kind.
Palm should be proud of a device like the Pre and showing up like a Palm Pre.

If Apple decides to lock out THEIR iTunes customer when using a non-Apple-device, I would take another path.

I would setup - ideally with a good, strong media partner - an alternative 'OPEN' store. A store open to all kind of media storage and with purchasing options.
Provide a nice tool to download the purchased content from iTunes and store it in the new store.

So there would be a platform, open to all hardware devices and any kind of media. (With DRM or without.)

Make the Apple arrogance their Achilles heel.

Just my 2 cents.

icarus

Palm III, Palm III, Palm m105, Palm Tungsten T, palmOne LifeDrive, palmOne Tungsten T5, Palm TX, palm Tréo 680.
& palm pré on the wish list !

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Apple meh

Nycran @ 9/24/2009 6:31:26 AM # Q
Whilst I love that Palm is sticking it to Apple (I have 0% love for Apple), it scares me a bit that Palm are behaving more and more like Apple every day, with all the vendor lock-in and usage monitoring going on. Right now the consumer gets more freedom with Windows Mobile, which is.... weird.

I blame the carriers though. They are about pure concentrated evil.

For when you'd rather be doing anything other than paperwork.
http://www.rypenow.com

RE: Apple meh
Tim Carroll @ 9/24/2009 7:01:58 AM # Q
^^ On Palm's own schizophrenia of late (with regard to consumer freedom), I've been stewing on another editorial about that for the last coupla weeks. I'm going to try and flush the bugger out next week. (Working title: A Tale Of Two Palms)
RE: Apple meh
twrock @ 9/24/2009 8:32:34 AM # Q
Nycran wrote:
Right now the consumer gets more freedom with Windows Mobile, which is.... weird.

Yep, and isn't that just crazy to think about? Up until about two years ago I believed helping Apple succeed was a good thing for all of us. I don't think that way any more. And the more Palm looks like Apple, the less I'm interested in them as well.

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?

RE: Apple meh
abosco @ 9/24/2009 8:54:59 AM # M Q
Strangely enough, I feel that way more about Google than any other company right now. They are an aspiring Microsoft.

Apple, on the other hand, is more concerned with their own walled garden, not taking over the world. Releasing DRM from iTunes music is an example of that to me. Meanwhile, Microsoft pushes WMA and Sony just ceded it's ATRAC.

RE: Apple meh
twrock @ 9/24/2009 9:38:20 AM # M Q
With Google, there's plenty to be concerned about. But I do look at Android differently. Google's business model does not have them controlling ALL aspects of the system. And anyone is free to fork the opensource parts, so I'm not as concerned with Andoid. And there's some "give & take" built into it because Google needs to work with the hardware manufacturers. Apple doesn't need anybody. That's great for investors, but I can't say the same for consumers in the long run.

As always, YMMV.

RE: Apple meh
abosco @ 9/24/2009 10:44:57 AM # M Q
Yeah, and I see that with Google's approach to Android. But I'm still left scratching my head, wondering how Android will make Google any money. I understands it integrates with their services, but it's not unique in that. The iPhone comes out of the box packed with YouTube, Google Maps, search in Safari, GMail push, and all available apps. The Pre is very similar. How do they plan to make money from Android that they wouldn't otherwise? It must be expensive to have all that staff working on it.
RE: Apple meh
twrock @ 9/24/2009 5:15:45 PM # Q
My take, based on a little reading, a little speculating, and mostly guessing (FWIW), is that there are a few values that Android brings to Google.

Name recognition: you talk about Android and you're talking about Google.

Competition: more OS's, and particularly more "open" OS's, doesn't hurt Google in any way. They sell advertising, not OS's. If they can cause Android to have significant marketshare, it helps level the playing field so that no one else gets too big (cf. Microsoft on the desktop). If Android somehow really skyrockets, it's "Google's" OS, so no harm to them in any way (only more advantage). And I really do think someone over at Google loves sticking it to MS. How could you not enjoy watching Balmer's explode with anger when you know there's nothing he can do about it? That's part of the beauty of free/opensource software. The other guys can only bad-mouth it, but they can't get rid of it.

But here's the biggie: Advertising. It's always been advertising with them. The core business. If they help along the uptake of smartphones world wide, there will be more people online more of the time seeing more Google ads. Google is pretty confident that they can stay at the top of the search game, and they aren't doing too badly with other online services. Because they are the core developers of Android, they will always have "preferential treatment" when it comes to the use of Android on devices and even what the "preferred apps" that end up on all those phones are.

Mobile is exploding and Google is right in there. Smart, very smart.

I'm sure better minds than mine can come up with better reasons, but that's how I see it at the moment.

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?

RE: Apple meh
abosco @ 9/25/2009 7:08:26 AM # M Q
To me, it seems like they're throwing objects at the wall and seeing what sticks. Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing. You end up with some cool products like Gmail and Google Earth, but it also yields Google News, which they have no idea how to make money off of without getting sued.

I see Android as another one of those ventures. I know it increases their exposure, but I think they're losing money developing this platform, at least for now. But their search business is so lucrative that they can afford to keep throwing resources at it.

Sounds a little like Microsoft or Sony, doesn't it?

RE: Apple meh
twrock @ 9/25/2009 7:51:57 AM # Q
abosco wrote:
Sounds a little like Microsoft or Sony, doesn't it?

Yes, that it does.

Since we are already discussing the topic, here's a fun read that just showed up on The Reg: "Microsoft howls as Google turns IE into Chrome"
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/24/google_chrome_frame_kerfuffle/

You can just hear Ballmer saying it once again: "I'm going to ####ing kill Google!"

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?

RE: Apple meh
abosco @ 9/25/2009 8:48:31 AM # Q
I saw that yesterday, and I approve. I don't care whether it's Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or a combination of all three that finally marginalizes IE. It just needs to get done. It is the one product that has been the worst of its kind for its entire life. My company still uses IE6 on XP. The OS is stable and relatively predictable. IE6 still crashes constantly, and I'm left shift-clicking like some shit-chucking ape to open a new link.

That brings me to my next off-topic point. In my time at offices over the last few years, I've noticed that they all run the same software. XP, IE6, and Office 2003. Windows now has two newer versions, as does IE, and Office has one younger brother. But none of these companies have upgraded. These are otherwise healthy, fresh, regularly-upgrading companies in terms of hardware equipment. But none of them have moved past 2003. What's it going to be like in five more years? Will anyone have moved onto Windows 7 in the workplace? Will Office 2007's new Fisher Price buttons and colors justify its exorbitant cost? It seems like there is a HUGE opportunity in the next few years for a large competitor to come in with a better solution. Nobody seems to be buying Microsoft's breadwinners anymore, and their new ventures (Zune HD, XBOX) are still just piggybacking off of their competitors' good ideas. And selling worse.

Getting back to Google, I am extremely excited about trying out Google Wave. It looks like a truly fantastic system.

-Bosco
m105 -> NX70v -> NX80v -> iPhone -> iPhone 3G

RE: Apple meh
twrock @ 9/25/2009 5:44:59 PM # Q
Yeah, seems to most of us that there was no compelling reason to upgrade past XP and Office 2003. Those are what runs on the Windows machines in my house. At work it's XP and either Office 2003 or OpenOffice. (There is one laptop with Vista, but only because they bought it without a choice; no good reason other than that's what was there.) I can't understand a company, during tighter financial times especially, putting out big money to upgrade their MS products. There is nothing that is going to make employees more productive and nothing else compelling about any of the "staples". Why throw away good money when what you have "just works"? But then again, MS has never been known for innovation, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?
RE: Apple meh
twrock @ 9/25/2009 6:10:44 PM # Q
Back to "benefits to Google" from Android, have a look at what Dan Morrill from Google says about the relationship between Android and Google apps.
http://phandroid.com/2009/09/25/google-responds-to-cyanogen-uproar/
(The topic of the article is not what I'm getting at, just the bits about why they helped create Android and how they position their apps on that platform.)

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?
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Muddling things...

Tolga @ 9/24/2009 8:40:46 PM # Q
There are two issues here...

1. Is Palm using the USB Vendor ID properly?

2. Is Apple using iTunes to expand a monopoly in music/multimedia content.

A lot of people are getting worked up in a fervor over #1 because of #2.

If Palm feels Apple is locking them out of iTunes unfairly sue, and also complain to the FTC, FCC, and the antitrust division of the Dept. of Justice. Jerking around their customers in these bi-weekly cycles of sync allowing hacks is simply idiotic. They could be using their time a LOT more effectively.

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